Two circulars from the Osun State government have been circulating online with controversial claims. One of the circulars announces an appointment of a “Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Government House Pool,” while the other designates an appointee as Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Oranmiyan New Town & Grown Area Development.” Both circulars are dated August 9, 2023, and the appointments are set to take effect on August 1, 2023.
These circulars, shared by prominent microblogging pages on social media, were interpreted by users as appointments related to overseeing the government house swimming pool and the famed Oranmiyan staff location.
Claim: Osun State governor appointed SSA to government house swimming pool and Oranmiyan staff
Olawale Rasheed, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) and Spokesperson to the Governor of Osun State, confirmed the authenticity of these circulars and the appointments in a telephone conversation with the CDD War Room. He clarified that the term “pool” actually refers to the transportation division of the government house. According to him, the appointment of the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) was necessitated by the need for a politically accountable individual to oversee government-owned vehicles and the activities of associated drivers. He added that the position had been established during the prior APC administration.
Rasheed also elaborated that the Oranmiyan New Town and Grown Area Development Project is a diaspora estate development initiative situated in Osogbo. It allows Osun indigenes living abroad to purchase plots that will be developed on their behalf. The role of the SSA is to ensure transparency and safeguard the interests of diaspora investors.
Further investigation by the CDD War Room revealed that the Oranmiyan New Town scheme was initiated in 2014 during Rauf Aregbesola’s administration. The project aimed to create an aesthetically pleasing town environment for residence and work, functioning as a satellite to an existing urban center.
It was designed to accommodate a population of over 80,000 people and feature essential infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water supply, drainage systems, sewage facilities, and communal amenities. The project covered approximately 2,572 hectares, including the 6,340 acres obtained by Chief Obafemi Awolowo between 1962 and 1966.
In 2019, during Gboyega Oyetola’s administration, reports emerged of meetings held by Osun state elders to encourage diaspora indigenes to invest in the project. The Oranmiyan new town project was reported to be a success during the unveiling of other Osun “New Town Projects.”
What is the role of the SSA?
The role of the Senior Special Assistant is provided for by Section 196 of the Nigerian Constitution, which grants the governor the authority to appoint advisers for assistance in his duties. The State House of Assembly defines the number and compensation of these appointees. Although the constitution outlines the adviser’s role, the specifics of the special assistant’s duties can be inferred from it.
Contrary to misconceptions, the Osun state government’s appointments were not for Senior Special Assistants to oversee the government house swimming pool or the Oranmiyan staff. Instead, the appointments are tailored for more distinct responsibilities.
The Osun State governor spokesperson, both in a telephone conversation and a statement made available to the CDD War Room, also debunked the claim.